ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the completion of the second land preservation purchase through Howard County’s innovative Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program with the Howard County Conservancy. The purchase will permanently preserve eight acres of land on the site of the North St. John’s Swim & Tennis Club in Ellicott City. Pictures from the announcement can be found here.

With the purchase of this easement, Howard County continues a second successful year of this trailblazing, innovative program, ensuring that our most environmentally sensitive areas are preserved for generations to come. We hope that this partnership with North St. John’s encourages other non-profits with environmentally significant land in the County to join the program.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The $120,000 purchase, underwritten by a $500,000 grant from Howard County Government to the Conservancy, includes over four acres of woodland and portions of two tributary streams of the Sucker Branch within the Patapsco River watershed. The easement ensures the eight-acre parcel at 9200 Marydell Road will be protected from future subdivision and development. It also has high scenic value, as the Club is located adjacent to Route 29 and Route 70, where it’s the wooded areas will remain a visible buffer to highway drivers and swimmers alike.

“The purchase of an easement on North St. John's Swim and Tennis Club is a significant commitment made by Howard County for land stewardship and conservation,” said Lynda Eisenberg, Director of the Department of Planning & Zoning. “This easement is a demonstration of the County’s dedication to preserving natural resources and promoting environmental sustainability in our community.”

The Purchased Conservation Easement Program received a Sustainable Growth Award from the Maryland Department of Planning in 2023 for preservation and conservation. The State recognized this program for its innovative approach to protecting sensitive land from the threat of future development. Through the Program, Howard County provides funding to the Howard County Conservancy to underwrite the acquisition costs of preservation easements between eligible non-profits and the Conservancy.

North St. John’s Swim & Tennis Club is thrilled to partner with Howard County and the Howard County Conservancy on the award-winning Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program. Together we are protecting valuable land and natural resources for generations to come. We hope other non-profit landowners in Howard County will follow our lead and take advantage of this landmark initiative.

Caitlin Selkis
President, North St. John’s Swim & Tennis Club

North St. John’s Swim & Tennis Club was founded 60 years ago in 1964. The non-profit offers aquatics, tennis, basketball, pickleball and other recreational opportunities to members. Proceeds from the easement sale will be used to sustain the Club’s continued programming.

Ball launched the innovative Purchased Conservation Easement Pilot Program in 2022, which is the first of its kind in Maryland. The North St. John’s Swim & Tennis Club purchase follows the 2023 purchase of a 62-acre easement on the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church property in Elkridge. To date, over $2.5 million have been invested in the easement program, which specifically targets non-profit property owners and provides financial incentives to permanently preserve environmentally significant properties. 

“We appreciate County Executive Ball’s leadership and partnership in preserving environmental resources that otherwise would not qualify for county and state programs,” said Meg Boyd, Executive Director of the Howard County Conservancy. “Kudos to the North St. John’s Swim Club for recognizing the importance of the forest that surrounds their recreational areas, and its value to their community and members. We are incredibly grateful for their commitment to preservation.” 

“May future generations learn a bit about the sacredness of wild places. May they remember the art of listening to the Earth,” said Janssen Evelyn, Board Chair of the Howard County Conservancy. “On behalf of the Board, we are grateful for the bold visionary leadership and, together, we are doing our small part in forming a better tomorrow.”

To learn more and apply to the Purchased Conservation Easement Program, please visit the Howard County Conservancy’s website: https://www.howardnature.org/conservation-easements/

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications
Lynda Eisenberg, Director, Department of Planning and Zoning

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